SACRAMENTO -- While California prisoners are on day 23 of a hunger strike to protest long-term solitary confinement, their family members delivered a petition to the governor on Tuesday.
More than 40,000 people signed the petition asking Governor Brown to end indefinite solitary confinement in California's prisons and to resume negotiations with those on the hunger strike.
Family members and inmates are asking that the prisons are accurate regarding gang activity, and hold the correct people responsible for their actions, said Dr. Ronald Ahnen, a professor at St. Mary's College and the President of California Prison Focus.
However, that still doesn't mean that prisoners should be kept in solitary confinement for decades, he said.
As a member of the prisoner's mediation team he says keeping an inmate in long-term isolation is akin to torture.
Celebrities including Jay Leno and Gloria Steinem have condemned the isolation of inmates to control gang violence at California prisons. The Los Angeles Times reports the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bonnie Raitt and Noam Chomsky also signed a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown that calls the isolation system inhumane.
Corrections Department spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman says the isolation units serve a "vital role" in protecting prison staff and other inmates from violent gangs.
Supporters of the prisoners gathered in Sacramento today to protest the solitary confinement practices